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Overseas students are a British export success

Home Secretary Theresa May has unveiled tough new measures to deal with immigration to the UK in a speech at the Conservative Party Conference.

Specifically on student visas, the Home Secretary said “too many” students were not returning when their visas run out. Ms May said:

“So I don’t care what the university lobbyists say: the rules must be enforced. Students, yes. Over-stayers, no. And the universities must make this happen.”

Responding to the speech, Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:

“The Home Secretary is right to say that we should clamp down on those who overstay their visas. But we should not lose sight of the fact that giving visas to talented, foreign-born graduates who’ve been educated here serves the national interest by helping UK plc grow.

“We welcome reports that the Prime Minister now supports excluding international students from the net migration figures. These students make a net contribution to the economy of £2.3 billion in London and are a British export success.”

Student immigration

Recent research from London First and PwC shows international students are a boon to the UK.

The report, London Calling: International students’ contribution to Britain’s economic growth, concludes that the capital’s higher education system is an export success story, with 92 per cent of students saying they would recommend studying in the UK to their friends and family.

The survey of current and alumni students from across London’s universities found that 60 per cent of international students are more likely to do business with the UK as a result of studying here.

It dismisses the myth that international students are a burden on public services, such as the NHS. Instead, they were shown to contribute a total of £2.8 billion through the spending they bring to the country, while only consuming £540 million in public spending.

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